Childhood & Student Ministries Safekeeping Policies of FBC
As a part of our ongoing effort to provide a loving and safe church environment for preschoolers, children, and youth, the members of First Baptist Church, Huntsville, in business session on Wednesday, March 11, 1999, formally adopted a document entitled, The Child and Youth Protection Policies and Procedures. The following paragraphs address three separate areas of concern.
In accordance with these policies and procedures, all persons working with preschoolers, children, and youth must have:
First Baptist Church? In this unsafe world, reports of abuse of children and youth are on the rise, even in agencies and institutions which were once considered immune from such abuse. Unfortunately, local churches are not excluded from accusations of and incidences of child abuse. Rather, the open, trusting atmosphere of a church environment can make it a prime target area for potential abuse situations.
Our Commitment at First Baptist, Huntsville... First Baptist Church, Huntsville, is committed to the task of sharing the Gospel message with preschoolers, children, youth, and their families. When we gather for fellowship, study, and worship, our goal is to create a loving and caring environment in which these preschoolers, children, and youth can become the persons that God has called them to be- spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
To that end, the physical and emotional safety and well-being of each preschooler, child, and youth is of utmost importance to the leaders of our congregation. Both ministerial staff and volunteer staff acknowledge our responsibility to, as best we can, protect preschoolers, children, and youth while they are involved in church activities. In a world that is often unsafe for young people, we strive to create a “sanctuary” here at church.
Therefore, based on our strong commitment to provide a church environment for preschoolers, children and youth that is loving and safe, our church has developed the following policies and procedures.
Our attention to these policies and procedures will:
Why are churches in general particularly susceptible to accusations of and incidences of child abuse?
Local congregations have unique characteristics that can make them susceptible to accusations of and incidents of child abuse. These characteristics include:
What is Child Sexual Abuse?
The precise legal definition of child sexual abuse or molestation differs in each state. In general, it includes any form of sexual contact or exploitation in which a minor is being used for sexual stimulation of the perpetrator. Child sexual abuse is a criminal act prohibited by various statutes within the Code of Alabama set forth in sections 13A-6-60 through 13A-6-70.
Child sexual abuse may be violent or nonviolent. All such activity is an exploitation of a child’s vulnerability and powerlessness, in which the perpetrator is fully responsible for his or her actions. Such conduct is criminal behavior that involves children in sexual behaviors for which they are not personally, socially, or developmentally ready. Child sexual abuse may include behavior that involves inappropriate touching and non-touching aspects.
Child sexual abuse occurs in all demographic, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious groups. Strangers account for less than twenty percent of the abusers. In fact, estimates indicate that when a known assailant commits the abuse, most of the time it is a trusted adult who misuses his or her authority over the child. Scientific data indicates that pedophiles (persons who sexual molest a pre-adolescent child) usually have many victims over a lifetime.